David Hicks was one of the most distinguished and well-respected designers of his era, and he remains a prominent source of inspiration today. I, for one, have have admired his work for as long as I can remember. His bold use of color and pattern continue to stand out as a shining example of individuality and daring originality. Although he is no longer with us, David Hicks' plucky spirit lives on in his children, and that includes his budding mogul daughter, India Hicks. The globetrotting former model may have a famous father, but with the growing popularity of her gorgeous eponymous lifestyle brand, India Hicks, India is clearly a success in her own right.
We caught up with India while she was in town and had the chance to discuss everything from her royal upbringing to what currently inspires her. Read on for our interview with the one and only India Hicks.
(A stately and unexpected entry designed by David Hicks)
Summer Thornton: You've lived a transcontinental, well-traveled life - how has that influenced your interior design style? How has it influenced the India Hicks brand?
India Hicks: Completely and utterly. I backpacked around the world at age 18, which I felt opened my eyes enormously – not only to magical, exotic places and the way people live life, but also to the many layers and textures and chapters of the design world.
ST: Your father remains one of the most prominent and influential interior designers in modern history. What is the most valuable piece of design advice he ever gave you?
IH: Good taste and design are by no means dependent on money.
ST: What is one design rule you learned from your father that you swear by?
IH: Good lighting – a dimmer switch.
ST: I wholeheartedly agree - every switch should have a dimmer! What is the one design rule your father held that you've broken? Why does your way work?
IH: He always said hanging photographs on a wall was a great no-no. I have an entire dining room wall littered with photographs. I’m not sure whether one or the other works, but it certainly keeps things front of mind.
(A classically bold living room designed by David Hicks)
ST: What are the three most cherished items in your home?
IH: My father always said if the house was burning, we had to dash in and grab the family Bible. Very proper. I’m afraid to say I would run in and grab my scrapbooks… Although there are many more than three. But they hold all my most treasured memories and photographs.
ST: How would you describe your approach to decorating?
IH: Quite soft. Muted colors with bursts of brights here and there. Very traditional furniture. Certainly not setting any trends – I’m very conscious of making a house a home, where it’s very livable. The dogs, the cats, the children and all the chaos they bring are featured very prominently.
ST: What do you think set your father apart from his interior designer peers?
IH: His astonishing belief in himself, his brilliant work with color and geometrics, and that he was a risk-taker.
ST: Describe your father's aesthetic in one sentence.
IH: BOLD, BOLD, BOLD. And I do realize that’s not a sentence!
ST: How does your design aesthetic differ from that of your father? With such an iconic interior designer in the family, what did you do to develop your own style?
IH: By the time I was 19 I was living abroad. It certainly helped to come out from the shadow of my father’s imposing design aesthetic. Of course his DNA is everywhere, but I don’t have such a strong approach.
(A sitting room in India's home on Harbour Island)
ST: How do you honor your family's history while maintaining your own aesthetic and keeping things fresh?
IH: I’ve recently developed a geometric logo that is heavily influenced by my father’s geometric designs. It’s beginning to sit more prominently within my own lifestyle brand, along side my good luck beetle, I love the juxtaposition of the two lives I have lived shown through the two logos.
ST: How has your interior design aesthetic evolved over the years? What do you currently look to for inspiration?
IH: Unfortunately David (my other half) and I are horrific hoarders. So the thing that has evolved most over the years is the amount of stuff in our house.
(A jaunty tent-inspired room, designed by David Hicks)
ST: So much of interior design is about evoking a feeling. When you're jet-setting across the globe, what's the one thing you think about that brings you back home?
IH: I live quite a gypsy-like existence, between several countries. We always believe that wherever your books and paintings and children are is where your home is.
ST: Besides your father, who are your design heroes and why?
IH: Nicky Haslam, for the obvious traditional sensibilities, his quick wit, and incredible style. And outrageous dress sense. I wouldn’t want to live in a Kelly Wearstler interior, but I am hugely impressed – and always excited – to see what she’s up too, she’s brilliant and original.
(A colorful, jaunty bedroom designed by David Hicks)
ST: What person or property would you most love to design for? What would you do?
IH: My great friend Nathan Turner recently designed the home of Eric Stone Street better known as Cam from Modern Family. Not only does Eric have good taste, but he’s also clearly enormous fun to be around. I was rather jealous of that design project.
ST: What is your one tried-and-true interior design rule?
IH: Not necessarily an interior design rule, but in hosting get togethers across America for my newly launched lifestyle brand, I always go to great efforts to make everybody feel welcomed and comfortable. And I think candles, flowers, and music go a long long way. And of course, a crisp white tablecloth.
(Classic English sitting room with a twist, designed by David Hicks)
ST: Understanding that you spent a lot of time in the Bahamas in your youth, what about the island made you decide to raise your family on Harbour Island?
IH: I spent a lot of time on a neighboring island, called Windermere. But it’s the sense of freedom and privacy that island life affords you that is so attractive.
ST: Tell us about a design mistake you've made, and how you fixed it.
IH: Ordering furniture late at night, overtired still in my office, on the Internet without bothering to go downstairs to measure the space, and finding that the 2-seater sofa I thought I had ordered was actually a 7-seater sofa. That was certainly a mistake. Re-selling a brand new 7-seater sofa on a small tropical island proved to be quite tricky.
(A skillful mix of eras, pattern, and color in this David Hicks-designed sitting room)
ST: What inspired you to start the India Hicks lifestyle brand?
IH: I wanted a business that could grow in many different directions. Seeing it mature day by day has been thrilling although at times terrifying. Becoming an entrepreneur is not for sissy’s.
ST: How have your British roots and your Caribbean home informed the designs in the current collection?
IH: Possibly more than the British roots and Caribbean home, it’s the stories that go behind the products that we love to share. I will think of my mother on the smart streets of London in the 1960s with her David Hicks-designed hairdo and her neat, smart handbag, and it will inspire me to bring back that moment in time, or my father’s secret rose garden in England where he imagined my sister or I would become romantically engaged will inspire a fragrance.
ST: What pieces do you think best represent the marriage of those two locales and why?
IH: I’m particularly proud of our beauty collection. We spent a great deal of time and resources developing these because we really wanted get it right. This is a fine fragrance collection, led by two eau de parfums – the English Rose, and the Wild Spiderlily. Two very distinctive scents from two very distinctive chapters of my life.
ST: Living on the beach lends itself to a barefoot lifestyle. And yet, your pieces are incredibly chic - how do you do it?
IH: I think there’s quite a mix of the barefoot life in our collections. Our Free Spirit necklace for example, with tassels and beads and a mother-of-pearl horn, feels very island-y to me. And many of our bags would feel just as happy resting over your shoulder stepping off a boat onto the island as they would walking down a city street in stilettos.
(The master himself, in repose)
ST: Starting a business is, well, serious business. What challenges surprised you the most? What came easier than expected?
IH: I hadn’t anticipated the pace at which we had to run in order just to keep up. But I’m also a marathon runner, so I secretly enjoy the challenge. I don’t think anyone would say there’s anything easy about starting a business. But the delight that I’ve felt when finding and building the friendships through this business was certainly unexpected.
ST: When you're designing for the India Hicks collection, who do you have in mind?
IH: Tricky, because we have a very wide range of Ambassadors and customers, so I’m never thinking particularly of one single person. But I definitely always make sure that I fall in love with it myself.
(India Hicks Double O Necklace)
ST: What is your favorite piece from the current collection and why?
IH: The Riviera Basket with its Junkanoo Tassels – it’s Junkanoo season on the island and I love using the basket for toting the everyday crap around (and not using a plastic bag).
ST: What are your daughter Domino's favorite pieces from the current collection and why?
IH: Domino is terribly disappointed to find that she no longer fits completely inside our Madly Deeply bag. But I do find her with a Rollerball in hand making sure she smells nice. (The fragrances are so clean that it doesn’t seem weird for an 8 year old to be smelling of an IH scent.)
ST: If you could banish one current trend, what would it be and why?
IH: I flipping hate air-conditioning. We’ve become horribly dependent on it.
Be sure to check out India's line. Trust us - you'll want to snap up every piece. It's that good!